Bison defeat Navy 77-73, ensure home court advantage for playoffs

Curt Bliamptis, Staff Writer

The first-place Bison played Navy in the last regular season game of the year. Stephen Brown’s ’18 steal in the final minute clinched the game for the men’s basketball team with a 77-73 win in Annapolis, Md. The win gave the Bison the best regular season record in the Patriot League and the No. 1 seed for the Patriot League playoffs. This is the Bison’s second straight regular season victory and their fifth in the last six years.

The Bison kick off play in the quarterfinals of the Patriot League playoffs against the winner of the Holy Cross match-up on March 3 at 7 p.m. in the Sojka Pavilion.

After the game, the newly awarded Patriot League Coach of the Year, Head Coach Nathan Davis, highlighted the Bison players’ toughness.

“The way our guys have developed a certain mental toughness to win those games. Being able to focus on the moment and not get overwhelmed is critical,” Davis said.

The game was close from start to finish. The Bison had a 34-33 advantage at the break, but the Bison never lost the lead in the second half. Early in the second half Bucknell went on an 11-1 run powered by three pointers from Chris Hass ’16, Dom Hoffman ’16 and D.J. MacLeay ’17.

Navy came back in the last few minutes of the game, tightening the Bison lead to 75-73 in the final minute. But Brown’s steal and free throws ended any chance of a comeback for Navy.

Hoffman was a standout performer in the win. Hoffman shot 4/7 overall and 2/3 from behind the arc, notching 10 points overall along with seven rebounds, four assists, and a steal. Hass led the team in points with 13, shooting 4/11 overall and 3/6 from outside. He also dished out two assists.

Brown also had a strong game. He grabbed four steals on the game, a team high, and scored nine points off of 2/4 shooting, 1/1 shooting from three, dished out six assists and grabbed one rebound.

Davis was glad to get home-court advantage for the playoffs, but emphasized that there is still work to be done.

“There’s a certain comfort level you get from the fans and from using your own practice facilities. At the same time, you have to play well. Home court is not enough,” Davis said.

 Should the Bison win the Patriot League Tournament, they would get an opportunity to play in the NCAA March Madness tournament. If they lose, they will still get a bid to the National Invitation tournament.

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